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West Belfast Festival funding cut a slap in the face for community success story - de Brún

20 June, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today described the decision to slash £100,000 in funding for the West Belfast Festival - Féile an Phobail, as a "slap in the face for one of the most successful community based festivals in Western Europe".

Ms de Brún made her comments after the 'Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC) said that the festival would receive £45,000 in funding' down £100,000 on previous years.

Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:

"The decision by the Northern Ireland Events Company to slash funding in such a manner will come as a hammer blow to the West Belfast community, and indeed to those who travel from across the world to attend one of the largest and most successful community festivals in Western Europe.

"This is not the first time that funding has been cut to Féile an Phobail despite the fact that the festival is estimated to have regularly boosted the West Belfast economy by more than £3 million.

"This is not the way to reward community effort and entrepreneurship. The organisers of Féile an Phobail, and the thousands of volunteers behind the scenes must be applauded for their sterling work over this past eighteen years in putting West Belfast on the map, when others tried to denigrate and demonise this community.

"As a regular festival attendee and public representative, I would offer my support to Féile an Phobail to ensure that the festival goes from strength to strength this year, and into the future." ENDS

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